MCN explains: automatic clutch kit for Husqvarna 401s

Husqvarna Vipilen 401
Husqvarna Vipilen 401

Husqvarna Motorcycles have announced this week that their stylish Vitpilen and Svartpilen 401 duo will be available with Rekluse clutch kits that turn the fully manual gearbox into an unstallable twist-and-go, while retaining the manual shift. ‘How the hell does that work?’ you might well ask.

Clutchless snickers

Before the confusion sets in, let’s be absolutely clear: this isn’t an automatic gearbox conversion. The Rekluse kit, already widely available for off-road bikes and road bikes, including the MV Agusta Turismo, makes the clutch redundant when pulling away or coming to a halt.

Rekluse make several different versions of their kit, but the Husqvarnas will be using the Radius X Centrifugal Force clutch kit combined with their TorqDrive clutch pack that uses Rekluse’s innovative EXP automatic clutch disk; the part where the real magic happens. The whole kit requires no significant modification of the bike, and is invisible from the outside, with the entire mechanism occupying the same space as the conventional clutch pack. The switchover takes about 30 minutes, and you can revert to a standard clutch set-up whenever you want.

Forcing it out

Installation is a quick and uncomplicated process, and once complete, you’re good to ride. While you still use the clutch to change between gears, the centrifugal drive disk within the Rekluse clutch pack means that you can stop in gear without the bike stalling. Then, as you increase the revs the clutch will engage the gear, providing silky uptake of drive (although it won’t automatically start you off in first gear).

Lever leaver

This works thanks to a series of sliding wedges within the special EXP disk, which are flung outwards by centrifugal force, expanding the disk and locking the clutch hub and basket together to provide drive, just like a conventional clutch pack. Then, as your revs drop when coming to a halt, the sliding wedges retract, allowing the clutch to spin freely while first gear is still selected.

Rekluse Radius X Centrifugal Force clutch kit

If you’ve mastered the dexterity needed to shift though a manual gearbox without using the clutch, or have a quickshifter/autoblipper set-up, then you’ll never actually need to touch the clutch lever ever again.

If, however, you either enjoy the control between gears, or feel more comfortable using the lever between changes then it works just like it would with a normal clutch basket full of conventional plates. The only difference will be start/stop procedures, when you’ve effectively got a twist-and-go.

The benefit is largely aimed at urban commuters who want a geared motorcycle, but enjoy the benefit of going clutchless in stop-start traffic and through inner-city traffic light GPs.

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By MCN News